As Regus expands into the thriving Togolese capital of Lomé, franchise partner and architect Dontou Hiloukou Derou is ready to meet the local demand for office space
When the new Regus centre opens in the Togolese capital of Lomé this July, it will be the brand’s first venture into a market full of potential. Famed for its major seaport, Lomé is being developed by Togo’s government into a hub for the country’s growing aerial services, as well as the international finance, insurance and IT sectors. With its two million residents accounting for 25% of Togo’s total population, Lomé represents a huge opportunity for flexspace providers such as IWG.
Architect Dontou Hiloukou Derou became an IWG franchise partner in August 2020. Recent investment in the country, he says, has sparked an increase in demand for office space – particularly in the new business district, where the Regus centre will be located. Although this area, in the north of the city, is currently home to embassies, government buildings, foreign banks and insurance firms, there are few workspace or hospitality options. Derou aims to meet this demand with a 10-floor, mixed-use building, home to not only four floors of Regus offices, but also an aparthotel, restaurants, skybar and a gym.
Coworking spaces are an ideal solution for this growing international business hub, where often transient small businesses and entrepreneurs are moving away from expensive long-term leases and looking instead to flexible, short-term tenancies such as Regus’s.
“The new way of working is smarter,” he says. “The way we use the office now is changing: there will be more flexible spaces where you can pay for one to two weeks, not monthly, so companies have the opportunity to move on when they have finished their project. They are using them on demand, as and when they want.”
At present, most of the city’s workspaces are colonial villas converted into offices, or simply rented houses used for work. But few options strike the balance between convenient, comfortable and professional, says Derou. While there are already a few coworking companies in Lomé, they are smaller in size (offering just 100-200sq m), so the high standard of service and facilities brought in by a huge global brand such as Regus will be welcomed with open arms.
He also expects to see a trend for workers socialising in the city’s flexspace after working hours, perhaps going for a coffee or making use of the development’s skybar and restaurants. He believes that this concept of creating a “one-stop building” for entrepreneurs and SMEs is the future of the flexspace industry in growing business hubs such as Togo.
It’s become a key element in Derou’s plans for growth in the region – namely opening one centre a year over the next five years, and looking to expand into neighbouring countries such as Benin, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
“Our goal is to build one-stop shop buildings, with Regus offices alongside aparthotels and food and beverage facilities,” he predicts. “Each should operate like a miniature city, where we can cover all the needs of our customers.”
Dontou Hiloukou Derou is an architect, developer and CEO of the Confortis International Group, mainly focusing on design and contracting of real estate projects in West Africa.
Are you ready to meet the demand for flexible office space? Find out more about IWG’s franchising partnerships today